Join the rebels: fan made adventure games
First posted on 26 May 2000. Last updated on 17 July 2010.
|Fate of Atlantis 2|
|Fate of Atlantis 2|
|Fate of Atlantis 2|
|Fate of Monkey Island|
|Fate of Monkey Island 2|
|Legends of LeChuck|
|Zak McKracken 2|
Have you ever wanted to know what may happen to Sophia and Indy immediately after the Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis? Have you ever sat around a table with some friends and wondered what may happen to Bernard and Co. at the end of Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle? Are you ticked off to hear that Space Quest VII: Return to Roman Numerals has been canceled?
Well, believe it or not, it seems that you are not alone. Currently, a number of fan made games are in the works based on these and other commercial adventure titles. Let us have a look.
Are these games legal?
As far as we know, all of these fan made games are being distributed for free. Many fans are using this defense in justifying their legality. So far, there has not been any complaint filed by copyright holders. We can only hope that companies such as Sierra On-Line and LucasArts can take these efforts in the right spirit and not stifle over the much needed enthusiasm for the genre. After all, no one is making a profit from it.
Are these games any good?
Good question. If you are expecting a great game with a kick ass 3D engine, professional voice acting, and tons of complex puzzles, you are going to be really disappointed. After all, these are games made by a few dedicated fans who just like to see a sequel! This much is certain—considering all these games are free, you are bound to get more then your money's worth (which some game companies still have trouble giving).
Why are these games being made?
Many fans are doing it simply for the sheer love of the game and the experience. Many fans, in fact, have said that even if an official sequel is in the works, they still like to make their own sequel, perhaps partly out of discontent.
Can I play these games?
Unfortunately, with the exception of Fate of Monkey Island, all the games are unfinished and are still works in progress to date.
What are these games?
Fate of Atlantis 2
Fate of Atlantis 2 is the sequel to Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. The development of this game has been going on for a while. It seems to be progressing well. The project currently has a team of over 20 people, with about 11 of those people working on a regular basis. It has gained a great amount of industry interest, including the Spanish magazine Micromania and Jeremy Kay who I have been told to be "a successful director and screenplay writer" who has been involved in the pre-production of Star Wars.
Alexander Zoller, lead artist (amongst other things) promises, "Fate of Atlantis is a classic adventure that takes the player around the world on a quest to find an answer to what happened to the Lost City, and on a race against the Nazis before they eventually succeed in gaining control over the powers of Atlantis. It starts where the original game left the player, telling the story to the end. Set in the autumn of 1944, the storyline stretches far beyond FoA. While we keep the original VGA resolution and inventory system, many enhancements will be made, including an ambient soundtrack, 3D objects and a voxel engine."
A playable demo is on the way, but there is no set date. They are also looking for storyboard artists, concept/visionary artists, and 3D modelers. If these positions interest you, you owe it to yourself to check the project out!
Fate of Monkey Island
- Scurvyliver Entertainment
Fate of Monkey Island is the only fan made sequel which is complete to date. In this game you are in control of a monkey on Monkey Island, and it is your job to make sure that the pirate LeChuck does not turn all the monkeys into slaves. The game takes a lot from The Curse of Monkey Island and parodies from other adventure games. It features a number of characters from the Monkey Island series, including cameos from Guybrush, LeChimp, Mr Fossey, and others. The game is set in high resolution graphics and includes many of the favorite tunes from the Monkey Island series. Do not expect a great work of art. It is all programmed and designed by a single person who goes by the alias Scurvyliver. Still, this does not mean the game is not fun. It is one of the few games which combines the action and adventure genres well.
Fate of Monkey Island 2
- Scurvyliver Entertainment
Fate of Monkey Island 2 is the sequel to Fate of Monkey Island. It is being written in parts. The story carries on where the previous game has left off and is set after The Curse of Monkey Island. The game begins on Kaos Island. Again, you play a monkey. This time around, the nemesis is another monkey (or is it?) with an insidious agenda. The game is played over 3 different islands. The game uses a new SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) engine that features full screen, high color, and improved graphics. It plays in a point and click style with a mouse. It promises to be a full-fledged adventure game. Unfortunately, the game is not yet completed. Only Part 1 and Part 2 are currently available. Part 1 of this sequel alone is already bigger then the entire original!
Freddy Pharkas 2: A Fistful of Cents
- Sierra Sequels
Freddy Pharkas 2: A Fistful of Cents is the sequel to Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist. The original game is an amusing adventure set in the wild west, where you play the hapless do-gooder pharmacist Freddy Pharkas. According to Sierra Sequels, the project is still in the concept stage, with only 45% of the story complete. The sequel makes a return to Coarsegold plus a new city. Work on the graphics has started. Currently, this team seeks programmers, musicians, and artists.
Laura Bow 3: The Manhattan Murders
- Sierra Sequels
Laura Bow 3: The Manhattan Murders is based more on the second rather than the first game in the Laura Bow series. The project is still a fair bit away from finishing. A demo has been promised, so watch out for it. According to Sierra Sequel, "This Laura Bow adventure is set - as was No. 2 - in New York City, circa the late 1920s. Laura Bow-Dorian (she got married, remember?) is riding high on the success of her Pulitzer. She's been invited to the biggest social gathering in Manhattan - Rutherford Woodrow's Christmas Ball. Everyone's having a great time...until the host is found dead - starting a series of gruesome murders of New York's wealthy elite!" As before, this team needs programmers, musicians, and artists.
Legends of LeChuck
Legends of LeChuck (also known as LOL) is another spin-off adventure based on the Monkey Island series. The project is made by a single person developer ShawArts. In the spirit of LucasArts, this game is a prequel and follows the adventures (or misadventures) of LeChucks' father. For those who have played Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, you may remember the close tie that is revealed between LeChuck and Guybrush in the end. There is a playable demo. Unfortunately, the game is only 30% through and the project has now been dropped. The author, Matt Shaw, is willing to give it someone else. If you are interested, then hop over to see what the fuss is about!
Maniac Mansion 3: Rebirth of the Purple Tentacle
- MasterFX Games
Maniac Mansion 3: Rebirth of the Purple Tentacle is also known as Zak McKracken 2: Revenge of the Alien Mindbenders. It is a relatively new project by MasterFX Games based on both of the game series. The basic premise is that the Maniac Mansion series and the Zak McKraken series seem to take place around the same time, so why not create a fan made adventure game which is based on both series! It is bound to be interesting. As with most fan based projects, the development team is looking for technical help.
Space Quest: Incinerations
- Subspace Alliance
Space Quest: Incinerations is among the few non LucasArts spin-offs. The developer of this game, Subspace Alliance, says that the game is based on the Space Quest series and places our hero Roger Wilco in a possible future shorting following Space Quest 6: Roger Wilco in The Spinal Frontier. According to the developer, "In this episode, Roger has been decommissioned for accidentally destroying his homeship. When it seems that Roger can't get any worse, he discovers that his girlfriend, Ambassador Beatrice Wankmeister has been captured by a rogue group of Space Chickens who are also out to get him. Now, in an attempt to save both Beatrice and his job, Roger teams up with the crew of the SCS Forager, along with his sidekick, Captain Santiago in a crazy intergalactic adventure fan game that takes you to infinity and beyond! Features character alternation, combinations of 3d and hand-drawn graphics, an orchestral rock soundtrack, and the latest game from ScumSoft, AstroChickemon!"
I am a great fan of the series, so I am looking forward to this one. Work on the programming is just starting up. The design team currently has 14 people. Josh Mandel, co-designer of Space Quest, has actually given a few tips to the team!
Zak McKracken 2
- Masterton Software / Invincible Creative
Zak McKracken 2 is based on the LucasArts' ever popular Zak McKracken (no surprises there). The project is under the direction of Masterton Software and Invincible Creative. There is currently a "demo" available showing some of the "basic" (emphasis on basic) functionality of the sequel. The real purpose of the demo, I believe, is to demonstrate that the game engine does not crash on different configurations. The graphics is impressive, albeit the sequel is far away from finish. The engines seem complete, but the artwork, cut scenes, and story elements still need work.
What other games are out there?
There are rumors that other sequels or spin-offs are at work, including series sequels or spin-offs to Sam & Max and Full Throttle. Unfortunately, little information currently exists on these titles.
My final thoughts
Given the current dissent against the adventure genre, it remains the responsibility of many devoted fans to support this genre. Unfortunately, the legality of copyrights may someday play havoc on their efforts. Regardless, the dedication and resourcefulness of these amateur developers must be recognized and congratulated. So give these fan made games a go! If you do not like them, delete them. Considering that you are not losing any money to buy these games, you can only win!